‘PERSISTENT’ thugs were compared to comedy duo Laurel and Hardy after their 10 minute attempt to ram-raid a shop.

Sean Lewis, of Wychavon Caravan Site just outside Evesham, was accused of smashing down the door of a clothes shop in Burford on Christmas Eve, 2018, and stealing piles of clothes.

He was one of the three men who were allegedly caught on CCTV trying to kick down the door of Elm of Burford.

But at a trial yesterday at Oxford Crown Court, he has sent home an innocent man. 

Read also: Murder investigation launched after stabbing in Didcot

The trail was opened, and closed, at court yesterday with 12 men and women being sworn in as the jury to decide whether he was one of those men. 

Prosecuting, Michael Mason told the court: “Burglary is simple. There is an intent to trespass and once you are in there you take something. It’s as simple as that.

“What is slightly different about this case is that it is a ram-raid.

Witney Gazette:

“I am going to play to you the CCTV footage of this ram-raid.

“Laurel and Hardy could have done a better job, but I give them 10 out of 10 for their persistence – it happened for about 10 minutes. They are persistent.”

Read again: Coroner orders police to find 'missing' body worn footage of Adam Stanmore being Tasered

The video showed three men taking a run-up and jumping on the door of 48 High Street, Burford, trying to smash it open.

After more than 10 attempts, the squad then get into a car and reverse into the door at an angle.

When this does not work, the group do not give up.

Instead, one ‘genius’ decides to take a sign from the outside of a shop next door and use it to wedge the door open.

Mr Mason alleged: “That genius is Sean Lewis, and is one of those three Laurel and Hardy ram raiders.

Witney Gazette:

“I am going to show you some still images which are of Mr Lewis.”

The jury were shown five images of stills from the 10-minute CCTV footage – the same pictures used to identify him as an alleged suspect.

He explained the follow-up string of events, saying: “So the ram raid happened, they flee and the police are called.

“When he police turn up they pursue the vehicle, but the vehicle escapes.

“That vehicle is later found, and that vehicle was stolen.”

Read more: Pub supervisor died after crossing A420 at night

When the force later looked through the CCTV footage, one officer said that she recognised Sean Lewis.

Mr Mason said: “[The PC] looks and them and she says, I know that person, that’s Sean – I have had some dealings with him.

“Months go by and they cannot find Mr Lewis, but they do eventually find him.”

Witney Gazette:

Both the prosecution team and the defence, Guy Wyatt, agreed that there was no disputing that the ram-raid took place.

However Lewis denied the charge of burglary.

Mr Mason urged the jury to decide: “Do you believe that that person in the image is Mr Lewis?”

However, after the prosecution had finished their case, the defence team offered the judge a 'no case to answer half-time submission'; meaning that they were was no evidence that a crime has been committed by the defendant.

This was accepted by the judge and Lewis was found not guilty of burglary.